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Atlantic Broadband to buy Thames Valley Communications

Groton — Atlantic Broadband announced that it will buy Thames Valley Communications for $50 million, a step the company said will allow it to reach about 10,000 new customers east of the Thames River.

Atlantic Broadband operates in New London, Waterford, East Lyme, Montville, Griswold, Killingly, Plainfield, Sterling and Putnam, while TVC operates in Groton, Mystic, Stonington, Pawcatuck and Gales Ferry.

Andrew Walton, a spokesman for Atlantic Broadband, said the deal makes sense as the two companies have adjacent territories in similar markets in southeastern Connecticut. He said Thames Valley has strong local operations in the region, quality infrastructure, and a commitment to southeastern Connecticut, qualities that Atlantic Broadband shares.

"Also, Atlantic Broadband has had great success operating in southeastern Connecticut, and we see the potential for significant growth in this region by bringing residential customers and business customers the most advanced internet, video and phone services available today," he said.

Walton said an agreement is in place for Atlantic Broadband to purchase TVC, but the transaction will not be final until the closing, which is expected within the next three months.

"Until then, Thames Valley will continue to operate as they have with no changes anticipated at this time," he said.

Once the sale is finalized, Thames Valley Communications customers will become Atlantic Broadband customers, and information will be shared about service offerings and pricing, he said. TVC plans to communicate with customers about Atlantic Broadband's "state-of-the-art video platform, superfast Internet speeds and advanced services designed for businesses." 

In 2013, CTP Investors, a private investment management firm, purchased Thames Valley Communications, then a municipally-owned cable, phone and internet service provider, from the City of Groton for $550,000. TVC was a subsidiary of Groton Utilities providing cable, phone and internet services that had incurred millions in lossesThe Day reported.

As a condition of the 2013 sale, $27.5 million of infrastructure debt was retained by Groton Utilities. The payment of that debt will be completed in early 2029, said City of Groton Mayor Keith Hedrick.

Hedrick, who became mayor in 2017, said TVC was a startup company that “was unable to gain enough market share to compete with Comcast and needed additional capital in order to expand and become profitable."

Since the transfer of ownership in 2013, TVC Vice President George Laub said by email that the company "invested heavily" in network infrastructure to improve network reliability and grow internet speeds from 20MB to 1Gig while offering a competitive price, as well as investing in customer service and delivering high-quality video and telephone services.

In considering the transaction, Laub said TVC was encouraged "by Atlantic Broadband’s track record of success in this market, their record of innovation, and focus on the customer that we believe that our customers will be served well by."

"We also think ABB’s larger scale and access to cutting-edge technology will ensure that going forward TVC customers continue to have access to market-leading services," he added.

Walton said Atlantic Broadband is offering employment on "day one" to all TVC employees.

Laub said the future usage of space TVC occupies in the Groton Municipal Building and Pawcatuck, "will be reviewed as part of the transition, and Atlantic Broadband will communicate with customers after the sale closes."

Walton said there are no changes to the offices at this time.

Hedrick said the city is evaluating whether or not the sale will have an impact on space, but said he hasn't heard from the company one way or another about whether or not it plans to move from the city building.

"If they evacuate, that will have a positive impact on current space restrictions of the utility and the municipality," Hedrick said.

k.drelich@theday.com

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